Following the very successful September leadership event, "Our Future Together," area pastors from Holy Spirit, St. Peter Claver, Our Lady of Providence and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes re-gathered for the Asbury Park Consultation on October 7 at St. Denis Rectory, Manasquan. Encouraged by the excellent turn-out and positive attitude expressed at the September 12 dinner gathering, pastors met to continue developing a plan for ensuring vibrant parishes in Asbury Park, keeping in mind the shifting role of urban parishes.
Crucial to the process will be the establishment of an Inter-parish Pastoral Commission (IPC), whose purpose will be to:
- identify opportunities for the communities to work, pray and socialize together
- celebrate the diversity of Asbury Park area communities with the intention of supporting a unity of purpose and experience of communion
- study the pastoral situation, demographics and emerging possibilities for the pastoral care of people, leadership and governance
- to actively communicate about the process in an ongoing way with all communities
- seek and receive feedback from the communities as the process unfolds
- make recommendations to the Bishop about the ministry model and canonical structure by sometime in 2011.
Pastors received a proposed timeline which they will use as a guide to develop the parish study process at the local level. The Pastors have elected to take turns facilitating the study process themselves. The diocesan Office of Pastoral Planning will continue to provide support throughout the study. It is expected that there will be regular meetings of the IPC, but also that particular times will be appointed for reporting to the parish about progress and obtaining feedback.
On Thursday, October 14, pastors met with 24 people from the various parish councils to discuss the reasons for the Inter-parish Pastoral Commission as well as the rationale for conducting future meetings. Pastors will choose from among those who are willing to serve on the Commission, adding to those names others to be considered. Membership on the Commission will be limited to 5 members per parish. A meeting of pastors and newly selected members will be held at Carmel Hall on Thursday, Nov. 4, 6:30 pm, to discuss the structure of the Commission and steps to further the consolidation process.